I went sprinting barefoot for the first time ever today. I'm sure I've run fast as a kid on the beach, but I've never done so on a field, to my recollection. It was an impressively... natural movement. There was no pain at all in my feet, although afterward I noticed I abraded some of my calluses a bit. I did step on a clear plastic bottle cap at one point (that went into the garbage) but it didn't really hurt since I just skipped with the opposite foot.
I think I was just as fast as with shoes and I had far better control at top-speed. Normally when I reach top-speed I am wind-milling my feet as fast as possible and I feel distinctly like I am not in control until I stop running and free-wheel down to a stop. I tried to articulate my feet; I'm not sure how successful I was but like I said earlier, the movement was very natural. In retrospect, it seems obvious that bare foot running should feel extremely comfortable, as long as you don't puncture your foot. Of course, one of the advantages of sprints is you can easily scout your route for anything you really don't want to step on.
I've had flat feet for a long time, and used orthopedics in my shoes to correct my gait to avoid shin splints and other muscle and knee problems from running and walking. I'm very tempted to try and toughen up my feet enough that I can try some moderate distance running, say a couple of kilometers, barefoot and see if I develop shin splints.
I've been looking around for Vibram Five Fingers awhile now but no one local in Edmonton seems to carry them. One of my friends said she had spotted them at Mountain Equipment Co-op, but alas, they were not there today when I checked. They are present on the website, but they don't seem like the type of shoes one orders via mail order without fitting. C'est la vie.